Floyd Avenue Spring Summer 2017 Menswear Collection Titled “Dark Summers”
I have to admit – music is one of the factors that sets the tone for me whilst watching a designer’s collection at fashion week. Marianne Fassler, Gavin Rajah, Avant Apparel, Ephymol, SuperElla are some of the local designers that come to mind on the subject of fashion show playlists. I have found myself whipping out my phone to Shazam particular songs played during some of these fashion designers’ fashion show. And It seems like Floyd Avenue has also perfected the art of selecting the right piece of music for his fashion shows. I remember his great choice of music for his last season for his coming of age showcase after the season prior where he won the SA Fashion Week x GQ Scouting Menswear . His choice of music piqued my interest and in conversation with him after his show backstage last season he also reiterated that the choice of music is very important for him to as a creative. Last season his soundtrack for the show was the spiritual awakening song called “amadlozi aya vuma” by Madala Kunene. Which I have to admit was the first time I heard it, needless to say, I have marked it on Youtube as a favourite and have added it as one of my favourites on my Soundcloud account.
Floyd Avenue returned to SA Fashion Week this season to showcase his spring summer 2017 collection titled ‘Dark Summers’, with a sterling body of work, Floyd managed to prove that he was indeed a deserving SA Fashion Week x GQ Scouting Menswear completion winner. This season, yet again, music served as a core inspiration to the body of work that he had produced. The collection was inspired by the symphony by Winston “Mankunku” Ngozi called “ya khali inkomo”. Floyd goes on to explain that the song is based on black culture tradition – it is “about what blacks do, whether we are celebrating, whether we are in mourning a cow will be slaughtered.” In the midst of the conversation I had with him, it became clear that Floyd also tapped into the local problematic political climate, the ignorant and stereotypical views the world hold towards black people. His body of work also expressed the systematic oppression of black people, the fact that not a lot of black people have been credited for some of the pivotal world inventions they pioneered because they could not own their intellectual property, as well as create trademarks and patent the work they pioneered. He goes on to make an example that in the days gone by before the liberation of the oppressed “ … not that black people were not inventing anything – at the epicenter of the shortcomings of black people was a reality that patents were withheld deterring black people from being able to patent their work – not only in South Africa, but around the globe. So a lot of what black people pioneered was basically taken from them…” (sic) for example by their slave masters.
Floyd further mentions the current controversial Helen Zille’s views on colonialism and asks “if we have these kinds of leaders, what sort of summers are we going to have as Africa? That is why the colours were quite muted and soily (earth toned)”. When we take a closer look at the colours that Floyd used as a point of expression, we see that he has made use of maroon, grey, army greens, black. Tied all together by coloured paisley prints. When we move further to his choice of fabrics, Floyd gravitates towards the usage of 100% cotton, poly-cotton, polyester and cotton blends.
Important to note is that the collection is available to shop at the end of August. When asked where people can shop the collection, Floyd answers “we are in talks with some big online retailers” I then interjected him by noting that “it is probably Spree” to which he laughed off but neither confirmed nor denied. In addition, shoppers can find desired items from the collection at Closet Republic. The price range you looking at for this collection is R600.00 – R2500.00 a garment.
You know it is a Floyd Avenue piece when you spot a tassel drawstring. When asked why he seems to be drawn to the tassel drawstring cinching finishes and the significance of it thereof, the designer responds “I personally think menswear is quite boring, you know, I don’t know tassel have this sophistication thing that they just have. I don’t know how to explain it but ja, I am drawn to them and I feel like…. I think men’s stuff do not have enough detail and I do not think I actually, don’t want to overdesign clothes. My clothes are quite simple so you just need that little piece that sets it apart from anything else, which is not forced on the actual piece. So basically that where we try to find the balance, we found out that the tassel kind of lives up to that” (sic)
I asked Floyd what is his design aesthetic that differentiates him from other designers, besides his line being a streetwear brand and striving to power dress a man for the streets. He struggled to answer the question, therefore, which forces me to express his inability to say how he feels. The golden thread that runs through Floyd Avenue’s design discipline is definitely the drawstring cinching tassels. My advice to you Floyd – it is yours and by virtue of that, you should own it and always makes sure it comes through in all of your design work. Whether in smaller or bold accents, always ensure that you present it well. Floyd Avenue does tasseled drawstring finishes, reminds me of the time a few years back when I called it by dubbing Refiloe Modiselle as “Africa’s First Working Model” and the likes of Legit retail chain tapped into her and ran with that tagline with minor word addition. Motswana orile, mo ntsamayisa bosigo ke mo leboga bosele mo rrwa rre, gape are, ina lebe ke seromo.
Edit: Baradi Moletsane